Irreverent Mavericks often use the power of humour and bold
reactions to current events to amplify their brand message. They keep
their responses swift, smart and funny – and don’t always run it past
The Trump administration has offered plenty for brands to call out or
rub up against, and a number of Mexican brands have been outspoken
in their objection to the US President’s rhetoric and border wall. During
the 2016 campaign Mexican beer brand Tecate aired their ‘Tecate Beer
Wall’ commercial on Fox News and Spanish language networks during
the presidential debate. Oaxaca’s Ilegal Mezcal announced that ‘This
shit has driven us to drink’, and organised a mass shot drinking protest
in bars across the US and Central America. Craft brewery Cerveza
Cucapá sold fake merchandise on the streets of LA that trolled Trump
supporters, the founder later tweeting, “Someone tell Donald he paid
for our beers.”
We’d perhaps expect scrappy beer and tequila brands to respond
as Irreverent Mavericks in this way, and less so a national airline.
Founded in 1934, Aeromexico is the official national carrier of Mexico,
flying to 89 destinations in 25 countries. In 2016 “Mexico’s Global
Airline” responded to the Trump narrative with a serious black and
white commercial declaring, “On land, borders can maintain distances,
but in the sky we show you it’s different” – but it was a much more
tongue-in-cheek response that really got across their point of view
about Trump’s border wall.
The big idea: DNA Discounts.
Starting with insight that, while the US was Mexicans’ No. 1 travel
destination, the reverse wasn’t true for Americans, Aeromexico set
out to persuade people to cross that southern border for a vacation.
In the ‘DNA Discounts’ ad, created by Ogilvy Mexico and Ogilvy
Colombia, residents of Wharton, Texas are asked whether they’d
consider travelling to Mexico. The initial response is, at best,
unenthusiastic. Then, after delivering the results of a 23andMe
DNA test, the same interviewees are given a discount on an
Aeromexico flight based on how Mexican they are – the more Mexican
DNA they have, the higher the discount. It turns out most people in
Wharton are a little bit Mexican, everyone loves a discount, and they
are more interested in visiting Mexico than they originally thought.
The video was created on a very small budget, and posted on YouTube
in June 2018 to relatively little fanfare. But context is everything: when
President Trump shut down the US government in January 2019 over
lack of funding for his border wall, the video found its audience:
Aeromexico’s irreverent idea caught hold, with the widespread media
coverage giving a broader stage to their message that ‘There are no
borders within us’.
As British actor Peter Ustinov observed, sometimes humour is just
a funny way of being serious.